BEKKI WILLIAMS: Edge of Human (2005)
“Very cinematographic and nicely charming, the music of Edge of Human will transport you into the land of dreams and romances”
1 Amber Dawn (Twilight Mix) 7:55 2 First Light (The Awakening) 5:38 3 Firewalk 3:37 4 Ephemeris 3:05 5 Where Times Collide 2:01 6 The Azmara Variations 4:33 7 Ever-Changing Calm 3:51 8 Xanthe's Garden 4:21 9 The Human Edge 6:07 10 Amber Dawn (Original Version) 6:26 AD Music | AD44CD
(CD/DDL 47:42) (V.F.) (Symphonic lively EM)
I am listening to this new edition of Bekki's Shadow of the Wind and I remember that I had wrote a review about Edge of Human, back in 2007. And if I recall well, I was very curious to discover her music. So, I dig in my collection to listen to this album again. And boy...! Does her music is so charming? AD Music is a huge label with great names in the field of English Electronic Music. If the styles of this label rests mainly on melodious EM based on symphonic E-Rock with a thread for cosmic moods, with artists such as David Wright, Robert Fox, Callisto and Code Indigo, there are some artists who are purely in a melodious moods. In the genre of very catchy and lively ballads. Bekki Williams is one of those! EDGE OF HUMAN is a light and melodious album. It's an album which almost walks on the paths of New Age with candy-pink melodies which charm in luxuriant orchestrations. And Bekki Williams avoids the traps of ease to offer a soft mixture of a more bohemian Enya, vocals in less, of a pompous Vangelis with good orchestrations and rolling percussions, of a Suzanne Ciani for the romantic side and finally of Yanni for music structures as well lively and cheerful. The esoteric moods of Enigma are also around the corner. So, you will have guessed that this EDGE OF HUMAN is not especially dedicated for those who like a more progressive EM or the Berlin School kind. And even less, for those who like long dark and sinuous structures. But if some of you appreciate a more harmonious and a more romantic style, you will be completely satisfied to discover this third album from Bekki Williams.
Floating synth lines, coupled with a soft oniric choir, open the charms of Amber Dawn and its fine arpeggios with sounds of a guitar to which the notes are finely pinched. We imagine easily these dreams of Berber nomads on an intro which has a sweet scent of Enya, before that a delicate bouncy structure makes swirl some tremulous sequenced keys in the clapping of hands. We have two intros for the price of one when the rhythm goes for a dreamy techno a la Yanni with a rotatory beat hammered by good electronic percussions and caressed by the sweetnesses of a romantic guitar and by deep orchestrations. First Light is a good and rather intense electronic ballad. A kind for the cinema, where both lovers find themselves after many adventures, with a heavy rhythm, we are not far from a down-tempo mood here, and intense philharmonic pads which inhale the magic of the legends from the Persian people. And if you like the ballad style you will be well served with the very seraphic Ephemeris and its violins crying in choirs a la Enigma. The Azmara Variations is another beautiful e-ballad which is more inspired by the kind of First Light with a synth filled by aromas of some romantic Arabian flutes and by superb orchestrations to make melting an iceberg. Firework presents a hovering structure with dense violins which sigh in a concert for crying strings whose slow whimpering is flowing over some good thunders of symphonic percussions. The rhythm is slow, even ambient, a little as the one of Mezzanine, with short more intense passages. This is quite fascinating and very near the lands of Vangelis. One would say a kind of soundtrack for a Persian spy movie.
Where Times Collide is as much intense as very short, with arrangements and choruses which wrap up a very staccato structure. This is also very cinematographic. The techno side of Ever-Changing Calm is completely unexpected. The rhythm is lively and very jerky. It bears a melody lovingly sung by good orchestrations. Xanthe's Garden calms down the moods with a good and livened up e-ballad where the romantic side is defended by buoyant acoustic guitar riffs and by a synth with lot of oriental flute breezes. A good cheerful track always wrapped up by good arrangements and rocked by a tribal rhythm which reminds me of Yanni's and which leads us to The Human Edge which is also a good ballad of a synth-pop kind from the 80's factory. The original version of Amber Dawn offers us another structure of ballad, very dreamy, meditative and poignant, which plunges us literally into these structures of Yanni's philharmonic ballads. It's nice and it's very listenable. My Lise finds to it a very romantic side.
I was curious and I was not disappointed. In fact, I was expecting exactly that. But not as that good! Rather pleasing, the universe of Bekki Williams rests on a beautiful structure of writing. If the core of her harmonies lies down on gorgeous orchestrations, sometimes a little too much sentimental, the rhythms remain rather surprising when Bekki Williams allows herself to a more livened upside. I'm not afraid to say it; EDGE OF HUMAN is a beautiful album for those who like the melodious and dramatic sides with light rhythms, for the most of it, which are lulled by some nice orchestrations. And if the musical beauty dominates over the complexity of EM, it's an album which will please you undoubtedly. And if you are more into the kind of Berlin School or prog e.m., you will have to set your heart somewhere else. Unless a small romantic evening with your love one is planned.
Sylvain Lupari (September 3rd, 2014) ***½**
Available at AD Music